USC vs Oregon: Who's the Better Pro Prospect, LaMichael James or Matt Barkley?

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst INovember 19, 2011

USC vs Oregon: Who's the Better Pro Prospect, LaMichael James or Matt Barkley?

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    The Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans will meet on the field Saturday night in a Pac-12 battle. These two teams are loaded with talent that will one day play on Sunday’s.

    Two of the most notable players who are slated to play in the NFL are USC quarterback Matt Barkley and Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James. Both players should do very well at the next level, but who is the better prospect?

    Here is the breakdown.

Matt Barkley, QB

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    If not for highly touted Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley would be the highest rated quarterback on the 2012 NFL draft board.

    The USC signal caller has shown tremendous poise in the pocket and is a proven leader on the field. He has matured as a player and a leader on the field, while maintaining a level head in one of the toughest environments in college football.

    The quality attributes are endless with Barkley—and this does not even include his great play on the field.

Numbers Don’t Lie

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    One of the most impressive things about Barkley is that he seems to be improving every year. He is a true student of the game and has unmatched accuracy.

    He has improved in yards, touchdowns, completion percentage and interceptions and there is at least one coach in college football who would take Barkley over Luck if given the choice.

    Barkley will be drafted in the first round and will be a welcomed addition to any team.

LaMichael James

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    LaMichael James is another player who is ready for the next level. The Oregon running back is flashy and explosive and can outrun almost any defense in the country.

    He is a workhorse who can easily handle an increased workload and has had right around 300 carries in previous years. James has had his problems in the past, but one of his best decisions may have been to return to Oregon for another year.


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    James has evolved into a better player this year. He has shown the ability to return punts as a member of the special teams and is slowly becoming a bigger part of the passing game. In short, his game is evolving, which will make him a welcomed addition to any team in the NFL.

    He has had some injury issues, which may be an area of concern, but this is due to how hard he plays.

    James led all of college football in rushing yards and touchdowns a year ago, and once again is proving to be one of the best running backs in the country.

The Better Prospect

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    Choosing the better NFL prospect is difficult, because it really depends on the team that drafts each player.

    Overall, the best NFL prospect would most likely be Matt Barkley because the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. They build teams around quarterbacks, and players like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers have laid out the blue print for others to follow.

    Both Matt Barkley and LaMichael James will be NFL stars in the near future and will be tearing up the football field on Sunday.

    James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist and can be followed on Twitter here. Feel free to contact James at